Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum has confirmed that a natural gas reserve recently discovered off the coast of Cyprus, does not fall within Egyptian territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.

Last week, Cyprus anounced the discovery of a natural gas reserve of between 5 and 8 trillion square feet off its southern coast, stating that the discovery falls within its exclusive economic zone. The finding was made by US-based exploration firm Noble Energy, and is the first of its kind for the country.

Speaking last week, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said at a press conference in Nicosia, “The gas discovery in the exclusive economic zone of our country creates great prospects for Cyprus and its people, which we shall seriously, prudently and collectively exploit to serve public interest.”

Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Abdullah Ghorab confirmed that the find was not within Egyptian waters, but told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the economic borders between Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey are still undetermined.

Ghorab said international laws mandate that the three states take part in establishing the borders, adding that the Egyptian government has been working on the issue.

Turkey, the northern neighbor of Cyprus, rejects the latter’s efforts to excavate natural gas in the Mediterranean under the pretext that the borders have not yet been demarcated.

In September 2011, after Cyprus started exploratory drilling in the area, Turkey responded by sending a seismic vessle, warships and fighter jets to the area.

Source: Al-Masry Al-Youm